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History of Shopping Deal Days

by Joy O.


If you’ve ever participated in Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or any other deal day, the shopping craze is not lost on you. With lines wrapped around store corners and online shopping carts figuratively full, our collective commitment to getting the best deal is evident.

These renowned shopping extravaganzas have been popular for more than 50 years. While the nature of the shopping is changing, popular sale days are still thriving. Let’s look back on the history of these shopping days and how they got started. 



Black Friday History

The term “Black Friday” was coined in the 1960s. It marked the start of the holiday shopping season. There is a literal meaning behind the term, which symbolizes when business’s accounting books changed from red ink, meaning loss, to black ink, meaning profit.


Cyber Monday

“Cyber Monday” was created in 2005 by Shop.org. This day was deemed Cyber Monday after discovering how many people flocked to the internet after Black Friday. I imagine people who didn’t shop on Friday felt envious and hoped to claim their own deals.

What’s more, people returned to the office on Monday, equipped with high-speed internet, which many home computers were lacking in the early 2000s to shop on their work computers. Stores jumped in on this trend and started offering Cyber Monday deals.

“Cyber Monday deals change every year,” Ana Serafin Smith from National Retail Federation, said. “One thing we have seen over the years is that Cyber Monday has evolved from free shipping to now offering exclusive online products coming from almost every retailer.”


Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday is one of the newest shopping deal days and was launched in 2010 by American Express. The day was made official in 2011 when the U.S. Senate officially recognized it and called for nationwide support of small businesses. It continued to gain steam in 2013 when more than 1,450 businesses and organizations pledged to support the day and became Neighborhood Champions. In 2016, Small Business Saturday shoppers spent more than $15 billion at independent retailers and restaurants. 

Find out where you can “Shop Small” this year on this map.

Small Business Saturday

Advertising and e-Commerce

Since the creation and popularity of these days, many stores have worked hard to compete in the arena of providing the best sales. Stores advertise heavily prior to the day to prime people to buy. To improve their chances of catching shoppers' eyes, they might also reorganize their website, create social media ads, improve their shopping apps, and more.

While we all appreciate a deal, it’s important to remember stores are advertising heavily to make us spend money. Consider the deals and long-term benefits, but don’t spend money you don’t have available in the short-term.

Holiday Spending Tips

While I don’t use these days as an excuse to spend frivolously, I do plan my holiday shopping around them to secure the best deals. Here are some tips that have helped me get good deals while sticking to my budget.

Holiday Budget Guide 

Read more of our blog posts for tips to help you save during the holidays.


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